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I have always kind of thought of myself as a pretty cool
mom. I try to stay up on what's what in the teen world—at least as much as I
can grasp from my Twitter feed. But even though I'm halfway through raising my
second teenager, there are still a few things I have to learn. Apparently, there
are some things you just shouldn't do.
It doesn't matter how many years it has been since you
had a wee one. We all gravitate toward those stories from the trenches of new
motherhood. I love talking to new moms, whether it's at the grocery store or at
a family function. But watch out for stories involving the words nipple,
breast, nurse and breastmilk if the star of your story is standing right there.
Because no teen can forget that image.
2. Text an inappropriate picture
Texting is a cool way to stay in touch with your
teen. Texting her a picture of your tampon box and asking her to buy some for
you at Target? Not cool.
3. Give her a pat on the butt
It's easy for a mom to forget that while cute little baby
thighs and baby butt are fair game for pinching and patting, a pat on the butt
of your teen is beyond embarrassing. This is also true of trying to wipe food
from her face or "fixing" her hair in public.
4. Do a yoga stretch
Maybe you're a true yoga enthusiast or maybe you just
love the pants. But whether you're truly flexible or just stretching that tight
hamstring, yoga stretching is beyond embarrassing. Also applies when your teen
has friends visiting your home. No. Yoga.
5. Make any type of noise
Bonus points for loudly blowing your nose.
Ill-timed grunts, sneezing attacks or particularly loud
exclamations of surprise are a sure way to draw an eye roll from your teen,
especially in public. Bonus points for loudly blowing your nose.
6. Tell a story about high school
Ah, the glory days. There is something about being the
parent of a teen that brings out the stories about your own days in high
school. Yes, he remembers that you were a football star. And she has heard the
one about the prom dress wardrobe malfunction. Problem is, no matter how funny
or cool you think your stories are, in your teen's mind you were the class
7. Borrow her shirt—then tell everyone
One of the coolest things about having a teen daughter is
being able to share clothing items. Same shoe size? Score. Cute sweater? Borrow
it if she's willing, just don't admit it in public. "We wear the same
size!" might get you kudos among your friends, but it's cringe-worthy
for your teen.
8. Order for her at Starbucks
Remember when your teen was little, and you ordered her
food? Don't. Nothing is more embarrassing to a teen than having your mom order
your grande mocha and requesting it "not too hot."
9. Ask the waitress too many questions
The more questions you ask ... the higher the eye roll count from your teen.
Gluten-free? That's important. Allergies? Obviously you
need to ask questions about menu items. But the more questions you ask about
the chicken salad (free-range? organic? antibiotic-free? albino? local?) the
higher the eye roll count from your teen.
10. Put your arm around him
Hanging out in public with your teen? While it might seem
second nature to drape your arm casually over his shoulder, this simple act is
highly likely to bring you the cold shoulder. However, if your teen happens to
snuggle up next to you on her own? Don't move or you'll spoil it. Enjoy.
11. Try to bond over cramps
Let's face it moms, cramps stink. So when your daughter
joins the monthly club it's tempting to commiserate over how much you hate
cramps. But nothing freaks out a teen girl more than to realize that she will still
be experiencing this monthly joy when she is old, like you. Just don't go
there, but make sure you stock up on Motrin.
Family resemblances are always a hot topic of
conversation, especially at family functions. And while your teen daughter
might share a lot of physical traits with her older brother, she does not want
to hear about them. At all.
Think you can be the parent of a teenager and still maintain
your coolness? Good luck with that—it sure hasn't worked for me.